Murder trial ends with hung jury


Staff Writer

Following a day and a half of deliberation, the jury in a second-degree murder trial returned without a verdict Saturday, the hung jury making for the second mistrial in the case.

The trial underway was the state versus Elizabeth Blan, who was charged with second-degree murder following the 2011 death of Anthony Silva in Archuleta County.

Blan pleaded not guilty by reason of self defense.

The case previously ended in a mistrial in late June, deemed so by District Court Judge Gregory Lyman after evidence that had been previously ruled to be inadmissable and prejudicial was shown to the jury.

The inadmissible evidence, Lyman explained, was included in taped interviews with Blan that followed her arrest, with those portions of the video supposed to be taken out prior to the jury viewing the interviews.

Jury selection for the most recent trial began Monday, Sept. 30, and concluded Wednesday, Oct. 2.

Opening arguments in the trial took place on Oct. 3, and after hearing from numerous witnesses, closing arguments occurred the afternoon of Oct. 10.

Jury deliberations began on Friday morning, Oct. 11, and the news of the hung jury was delivered to the court around noon on Saturday, Oct. 12.

“We have every intention to retry the case,” said Assistant District Attorney Alex Lowe.

The case is set to be rescheduled for trial on Nov. 5.

The incident that left Silva dead occurred in the late hours of Oct. 27 and early hours of Oct. 28, 2011.

Archuleta County Combined Dispatch received a medical call from a residence at 1551 County Road 400 (Fourmile Road) around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2011, former Archuleta County Undersheriff Jim Saunders and current undersheriff (then detective) Rich Valdez said at the time.

Saunders declined to release the identity of the reporting party at the time, but later evidence revealed that Blan called 911 regarding the incident.

Upon their arrival at the scene, ACSO deputies found that a male, identified as Silva, had been stabbed. EMS also responded to the call.

Silva, 27 at the time, was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center for treatment of a single stab wound to the chest, according to Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht.

Macht said Silva received multiple units of blood during treatment, but was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Following the transport of Silva, ACSO and Pagosa Springs Police Department personnel worked to secure the scene and perform an investigation, Valdez said.

Personnel from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Durango Police Department, District Attorney’s Office and the PSPD provided additional resources and expertise during the investigation and collection of forensic evidence at the scene, Saunders said.

Also on scene when emergency personnel arrived was a 37-year-old woman from Farmington — Blan, Valdez reported.

Blan was arrested on charges of second-degree murder for her suspected involvement.